Most children start with manuscript and learn cursive at the end of second grade

or the beginning of third. Here are handwriting programs for manuscript, cursive,

and numerals:

Educators Publishing Service
Box 9031
Cambridge, MA 02139-9031



PAF Handwriting Program

Program for Print (112 pp)$10.855125-GZ8
Program for Numerals (48 pp)    9.75                        5136-GZ8
Program for Cursive
Right-Handed   12.505127-GZ8
Program for Cursive
Left-Handed12.50     5129-GZ8

A central element of Orton/Gillingham instruction for dyslexics is kinesthetic

reinforcement through writing. The age of ripeness for work on handwriting,

however, varies from one child to another. For some young children, the eye, ear,

and speech modalities pull way ahead of their writing. Others take to writing easily

and visualize their letters more accurately if they can write them. Older

dyslexics, with good coordination and severe memory problems, may find that

writing is the only way to nail down memorization. Know thy pupil.

Ideally, a student writes a letter as he or she pronounces or spells its sound, so

that eye, ear, hand, and speech are working simultaneously and reinforcing each

other. What some don't realize is that Anna Gillingham believed that reading

instruction should begin at age seven, an age when children have an easier time

with handwriting.

At-risk children who start instruction in kindergarten and first grade often do

better moving letter-cards around than they do with writing letter-sounds that they

are well able to pronounce and recognize. These children can build their words out

of letter-cards and proceed more slowly with handwriting, For those who have

extreme difficulty, occupational therapy can be a fun way to develop eye-hand


By eight years old, many children are ready for cursive writing and are willing to

abandon their chicken scratch and take pride in learning grown-up cursive. It's

reassuring for them to know that every lower-case letter starts on the line.

For dyslexics, practicing both letters and key words in cursive--as often as

possible--is like practicing scales for a pianist, and writing words--especially tricky

words like where and were--is the best way to get them memorized.

When children do creative and expository writing and when they write in a daily

journal, it's important to accept invented spelling and imperfect penmanship, and

save penmanship and spelling for lessons that don't interfere with the free flow of

ideas. You stifle communication if you do otherwise. The first (or second) draft, with

the teacher's corrections--tactful corrections--can be copied with greater care for a

final draft. When a child can't produce a final draft, the teacher can type the

composition on the computer, leaving room for illustrations.

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